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Got bladder leaks? Learn about the 4 Most Common Types of Urinary Incontinence in Women

Can’t sneeze without peeing? Can’t make it to the bathroom on time? If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Urinary incontinence occurs when a person leaks urine by accident. While managing urinary incontinence can be stressful, it is nothing to be embarrassed of! In fact, it is estimated that nearly 50% of adult women experience urinary incontinence. Also, urinary incontinence impacts twice as many women as men. There are four main types of urinary incontinence that impact women:

  1. Stress Urinary Incontinence
  2. Urge Incontinence
  3. Mixed Incontinence
  4. Overflow Incontinence

Not sure what type of urinary incontinence you’re experiencing? Or want to understand what is causing your leaks? No problem, below we walk you through these four types of urinary incontinence so you can be better informed.

If you’re looking for a more interactive tool that will help you identify between the two most common forms of incontinence in women, Uresta has developed a quick, free assessment tool to determine whether you are experiencing stress or urge incontinence – check out our free assessment tool here.

Stress Urinary incontinence (SUI)

Stress Urinary Incontinence is when urine leaks out when there is sudden pressure (coughing, sneezing, jumping, laughing) on the bladder and urethra, causing the sphincter muscles to open briefly and for urine to leak out. Urine leaks from Stress Urinary Incontinence occur due to weakened pelvic floor muscles and tissues. This is often the result of damaged or weakened tissues and muscles from childbirth and why many women refer to their Stress Urinary Incontinence as their “mommy bladder”. Other factors like age (our muscles weaken as we age), hormones changes during menopause and menstrual cycles, and extra weight can contribute to Stress Urinary Incontinence. Heavy exercising may exacerbate Stress Urinary Incontinence due to extra pressure placed on the bladder during these activities (running, jumping, lifting weights). If you’re experiencing more leaks post-pregnancy, this might be what you’re experiencing! Luckily, this is also the kind of incontinence that Uresta helps with. Stress Urinary Incontinence is also one of the most common forms of incontinence experienced by women.

Urge Incontinence

Urge Incontinence, also known as Urgency Incontinence, is when you have a sudden urge to pee that is difficult to control. This is sometimes referred to as “key in lock syndrome” due to the common scenario of suddenly needing to urinate as you unlock the door to your house after being away for sometime. With Urge incontinence, when your bladder fills with urine from the kidneys, the bladder contracts and releases urine before you are ready to. The two main muscles that are involved with preventing urine from being released are the sphincter which prevents urine from leaking into the urethra, and the bladder wall muscles which expand and contract to hold more urine.

Alongside Stress Urinary Incontinence, Urge Incontinence is one of the most common forms of incontinence experienced by women. Uresta has developed a quick, free assessment tool to determine whether you are experiencing stress or urge incontinence – check out our free assessment tool here.

Mixed Incontinence

Mixed incontinence is exactly what it sounds like: pee leaks that result from a combination of other forms of incontinence. About 14% of women experience mixed incontinence. Most often, it is a combination of stress and urge incontinence. If you have mixed incontinence, you may experience leaks when you sneeze, laugh, or cough. You may also get the sudden urge to pee when you sleep, drink a small amount of water, or even hear water run. Similar to stress and urge incontinence, there is often no cure for mixed incontinence. However, exercise such as kegels, medication, and pessaries such as Uresta can vastly improve symptoms.

Overflow Incontinence

Unlike the other forms of incontinence, Overflow Incontinence is more common in men than women. Overflow incontinence occurs when urine leaks involuntarily due to overflow, those who experience overflow incontinence may not feel their bladder filling up. This form of incontinence is typically a result of a blockage in the urinary tract, nerve damage, or certain medications. Unfortunately, this may also lead to frequent urinary tract infections as bacteria is more likely to grow in full bladders.


Two-thirds of women who experience urinary incontinence do not seek help from doctors or other healthcare professionals. If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help! While urinary incontinence is common and usually does not indicate a significant health risk, it can greatly impact the quality of your life. With the right combination of pelvic exercises, medical advice, and pessary products like Uresta, urinary incontinence can become very manageable. In fact Uresta user Barb James shared that Uresta has taken the “stress” out of her bladder leaks.

If you want to learn more about urinary incontinence, make sure to check out our blog on historical solutions for urinary incontinence, our blog on what the pelvic floor actually is, and how Uresta is changing the game for people who experience pee leaks.